Yankees manager Joe Girardi indicated earlier this week that Mariano Rivera could finally get his wish and play some center field this weekend in Houston, but it sounds like it’s not going to happen. In fact, it’s increasingly likely that Thursday’s epic send-off at Yankee Stadium was his final appearance in an MLB game.
It would be a little odd if our final memory of Rivera was him climbing Tal’s Hill in center field at Minute Maid Ballpark, so this makes sense. It’s impossible to top what we saw on Thursday.
Craig Kimbrel notched his 50th save of the year Friday in the Braves’ 1-0 win over the Phillies, making him the 11th different reliever to reach the milestone.
In all, there have been 13 50-save seasons, with Mariano Rivera and Eric Gagne having gotten there twice. The Orioles’ Jim Johnson could also get there for a second time this year, but he’d need to pick up saves against the Red Sox in each of the Orioles’ two remaining games.
Kimbrel also fanned two batters tonight to up his season total to 98. As we blogged last night, the Royals’ Greg Holland just notched the 14th season ever of 40 saves and 100 strikeouts. Kimbrel owns two of them and could get there for a third straight year with two more strikeouts this weekend.
Kimbrel now has 139 career saves as he wraps up his age-25 season. Only Francisco Rodriguez, with 146, had more through 25. Rivera didn’t have a one, as he was a rookie starter for the Yankees in his age-25 campaign.
Yankees announcer Michael Kay was on the Dan Patrick Show today and they raised an interesting question: Whose career would you rather have: Derek Jeter’s or Mariano Rivera’s? Secondly: would either make it to the Yankees’ Mt. Rushmore as one of the team’s top four players ever?
Personally, I’d rather have Jeter’s simply because I’d rather be an everyday player. Plus Rivera is happily married which is wonderful for him. But if I’m making wishes about crazy things like being a ballplayer, I’m gonna wish for other stuff I can’t have too, such as any of the women Derek Jeter has been with.
As for Rushmore: I think Jeter should be there, not because he’s necessarily among the four “best” Yankees players, but because he represents and era and I feel like those Rushmore conversations should encompass that. Give me Babe, DiMaggio, Mantle and Jeter.
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